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Newest Member: Stark

Just Found Out :
H is a complete stranger with a second life.

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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 11:16 AM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

It breaks my heart to think of him that way, I love him deeply and have my entire adult life, and I suspect his mother is a narcissist and it would absolutely kill him to be anything like her. But the things I've seen and heard from him have been above and beyond anything I'd ever suspected he carried inside him.

Sigyn, I think that you have a very accurate read of your husband. Even in these early days, you have more clarity than many newly betrayed.

Often times, when a new BS comes here, they.....probably without even realizing.....will make excuses for their WS. You have done very well to this point of avoiding this trap, and it allows you to see a clearer picture of your partner.

Being that you are asking opinions, my observation is that of Cooley's---he's disordered. Whether narcissistic by diagnosis, or other PDs, his mind works in ways that we can not fully grasp. He has shown ZERO empathy, and without that, it's scary to think what he is capable of doing. He has shown that once exposed, there is no room in his heart except for himself. I like to say that people can change if they want to change, but most often, it is not something they take seriously. He has been deceptive to you far longer than he has been honest. The sad truth is, the deception probably started near the very beginning. I'm not saying the actual cheating, but you were more an object, or a tool at his disposal, than a person who he would consider an equal.....and would allow himself to be vulnerable. Like I mentioned already, he most likely does not possess those traits.

For that, I'm sorry.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4093   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8753452
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BigMammaJamma ( member #65954) posted at 2:51 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Of course I can't assert anything cause I am not a professional, but I can def say that his reaction to you finding out about his entire second life is really fucking abnormal. It is like has no ability to understand how something feels until it happens directly to him. I mean, how would he react to you having boyfriends, paid escorts and like an entirely separate life for your the literal duration of your marriage? Like cheating is unfortunately pretty common place, but what your husband has done requires so much deception and effort and yet he still is only focused on himself.

This dude is seriously fucked in the head and I hope that you are starting to understand that you do not yet comprehend the depths that he is willing to go to. You do not know what he is capable of. Obviously, right now he is more concerned about how everyone is going to see what's under that mask than he is with the trauma that you are currently experiencing and he may attack if you there is a threat to his image.

As a side note, I have a cousin who contracted HPV which turned into cervical cancer from a cheating husband. Your husband has been straight up reckless with your sexual health. If you have already mentioned that you've gotten an STD test, great -- apologies for bringing it up again. But if you haven't yet, it is a critical step.

Keep moving forward, the only way is through it. I promise that one day this will all be a shitty memory. Maybe not next month or the next six months. It is obvious through your words that you are going to be fine, eventually. You will thrive and you will be happy again. You just need to be very far from your wayward husband.

Me- born in 1984
Him- born in 1979
We both have 3 kids from previous marriages and we share a four year old. I might be a BS, but at this point, I don't know if I'll ever know.

Update: As of 5/8/2020, my WH confirmed I belong in this club

posts: 241   ·   registered: Aug. 23rd, 2018   ·   location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
id 8753487
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 3:43 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I’m not really knowledgeable enough to help contribute to postulating a diagnosis. There are posters who have dealt with a narcissist who can give better feedback.

I did want to reiterate that while you loved him with authenticity, he loved you in your box. You thought you were in a partnership for life. It turns out you are one part of his life.

You have said that throughout your marriage he has had trouble with shame and admitting wrongdoing. That he manipulated, redirected focus to your errors in presentation of the problem, rather than the problem. As this settles in, I think more situations/ trends like this will be put into perspective for you.

I in no way think you could have seen the train coming. More like things that you thought were accommodations in your relationship turn out to be more telling in hindsight with all of this new information.

These realizations trickle in slowly as the landscape of your life morphs from what your experience was to something totally new as you fit each new sickening fact of what he was doing/juggling/planning during these periods.

I think his total inability to show any empathy or consideration for you may be the most authentic he’s ever been. He could put the mask of sympathy on and that might have you wobbling a bit. Considering his potential for change……. Perhaps seeking for comfort from this new version with feelings and potential. Think about it, he knows how to provide what each audience needs.

BUT, he cannot accept a role as anything other than victim or hero. Certainly not perpetrator. Whatever the disorder that fuels that behavior, it’s helping you to see the totality of his life’s focus is on HIMSELF.

As evidenced by his crying in front of his child. Just another opportunity to expose himself as the victim and manipulate…. There is no higher priority, like your kids feelings of safety, that can’t be sacrificed for a toehold in twisting his reality to meet his narrative.

He may very well have loved the box you shared but now that the peas are touching the mashed potatoes, what he most fears is exposure. That’s why he’s hyper focused on who knows. Don’t underestimate his need to know/ shift the control back to himself.

Make sure your proof is out of the house. That he has no access to your lawyer to do list. Right now he wants to know what you know. Does he have access to plant recording devices in your areas of the home, your car…? I don’t say that to scare you. He has access to his cheater online buddies who may be advising him…..

One day at a time. As many have said you are navigating this soul sucking bog on the daily with a level of comprehension, forethought that it took many of us months and months to get to. It’s a testament to your individual character.

Sending you hugs because no matter how you navigate this chaos, it is heartbreaking.

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8753528
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Trapped74 ( member #49696) posted at 5:15 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Does it really matter why an abuser punches his wife repeated in the face? Do we use FOO to justify physical abuse, or bandy about armchair psychological diagnoses to rationalize an abuser throwing his wife down the stairs? NO, of course not, but what this man has done is every bit as bad, only the scars will go deeper and last longer. And as he continues to abuse you, from here on out, he will be overtly blaming you.

Stop talking to him completely. Next communication should be through a lawyer. Only then, MAYBE, will he truly understand what he has done, what he will lose, and MAYBE have a come to Jesus moment (doubtful, and even then it will be in a self-serving survival mode.) Otherwise, you're just giving a proven monster a platform. While wasting your time and breath, and leaving you more vulnerable to further abuse.

(Also, let's say he gives you alllll the gory details you ask for. That shit is in your head now, and it is not pleasant. Should a miracle happen and you reconcile, sex will never be the same. Mind movies suck.)

You are one of the strongest, good-head-on-your-shoulders posters I have seen on this forum in a long time. Look at several other posts on just the front page on this JFO thread alone... many "whelp, I'm back" type posts from other BSs who have, surprise-surprise come back because their WS cheated again. I have had to revisit this page more than once, to my shame. And mine wasn't living a complete double life for pretty much our entire marriage, and BRAGGING about it (mine had the good sense to not tell a single soul other than his APs.)

He has given you zero to work with, absolutely no hope. Focus on getting you and your kids out of this abusive situation.

Many DDays. Me (BW) 46 Him (WH) 49
Happily detached and compartmentalized.

posts: 233   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Oregon
id 8753579
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DobleTraicion ( member #78414) posted at 8:49 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Once again, let me express my sympathies to you at having to deal with this horrible revelation and great loss. The whole thing is just awful and I am so sorry.

I know you most probably want answers. Your very soul cries out for them. Years of attachment dont just go away. It has a very strong pull. But heres the thing, the search for more answers, truths, facts is most assuredly also the way of far more pain. Pain that will syphon the life out of you. It is at direct odds with your imperative need to marshall your health, strength and resources, both for yourself and for your child.

You are now past his veneer. Youve peeled back the first layer and found rot. You peeled a bit more and found more rot. Chances are very good thats all youll find from here on out. As jb has said, he is "disordered" and a serial cheater, possibly a SA.

My hope for you now? Pull up the draw bridge of his access to you and start the planning process, not just for seperation and divorce, but a whole new life without him. It may be scary and overwhelming to think about but it can be, just like other large projects, taken in phases. You are now in phase 1.

Lean heavily on your support system, sister, bro in law, therapist, close friends, SI, and resist the temptation to turtle up. You need a team around you for support. I tried going it alone and ended up cratering. Dont be me.

I think you are doing extremely well for having a bomb like this go off in your life. You are also an excellent communicator which will stand you in good stead in the days ahead.

Strength, healing and clarity to you.

Edited to add: I hesitated including this, but this is what a BW said about her serial cheating husband that you may find helpful, "I don't want to know more than I've uncovered. I've made up my mind to divorce and learning about the extent of this affair and any other affairs that may have occurred in the past will not do me any good."

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 9:14 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

"For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."

posts: 71   ·   registered: Mar. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: South
id 8753618
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Trapped74 ( member #49696) posted at 9:40 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

^ Agree 100%

Many DDays. Me (BW) 46 Him (WH) 49
Happily detached and compartmentalized.

posts: 233   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Oregon
id 8753626
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whatisloveanyway ( member #66450) posted at 11:45 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Sigyn, chiming in to say I'm sorry that you are in so much pain and your husband just can't seem to come around. I'm sorry that he can't offer you any comfort or assurances that you matter to him. His issues go way beyond you, and he hasn't stepped up in any meaningful way to connect with you.

And if I read that right, crying if front of your son is a bad sign. Staying strong for our kids is what we strive for, and it's just more selfishness for him to not put his child's emotional needs for stability ahead of his own.

I always thought I had one of the colder, less remorseful WH's here, but mine has never wavered in holding me when I cry and ensuring me that here, together is where he want's to be, if I will have him. I just don't see what you have to work with, and your WH doesn't have the luxury of time to work through his shock and save his marriage, if that's what he wants. He can't tell you what he did, what it meant to him, what you mean to him, what his family means to him....he can only tell you he is so misunderstood and if you just heard him out you'd understand....what? The least damning version of what he did that he can get away with telling you.

You are smart and strong and it will serve you well. All of this is a terrible mess, but you are navigating as well as anyone could hope. Take care of yourself, let us know what and how you are doing. We get it and we care.

[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 11:46 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

BW: 62 WH: 62 Both 57 on Dday, M 35 years, 2 grown kids. WH had 9 year A with MOW, 7 month false R, multiple DDays, years of trickle truth.
I got rid of her with one email. Reconciling, but the lies have piled up. Trying one more time, again.

posts: 436   ·   registered: Oct. 9th, 2018   ·   location: Southeastern USA
id 8753645
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YOTO1521 ( new member #79896) posted at 5:44 AM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

I'm so sorry you are here.
My POS husband found a way to get cash out without me realizing... $100 at a time when grocery shopping. If he goes to the grocery store a couple times a week he could easily build up cash reserves without raising any alarms.

$50 here, $100 there. I never noticed.

posts: 14   ·   registered: Feb. 6th, 2022   ·   location: US
id 8753670
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 12:07 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Don’t blame yourself for not seeing red flags. I don’t think most normal, faithful, committed people in a relationship are attuned to the kind of deceit that goes along with cheating, let alone the extreme, pathological lying and disordered behavior of your husband. I apologize for giving any credence at all to FOO issues; I wasn’t trying to say you should accept them as an excuse or reason, but I shouldn’t have mentioned listening to them at all, especially when it’s clear that he’s so determined to use them as an excuse for such horrific, abusive actions toward you.

I have no idea if your husband is a narcissist, but his behavior is so far out of the realm of normal and displays such total self absorption that I would put up as many protective barriers between him and you as I could. If he’s this reactive and self focused when facing the smallest of consequences for his insane, awful behavior, you’re likely to see a lot of ugliness and abuse directed toward you when his castle of lies completely implodes. Take care of yourself. You seem like an incredibly intelligent, perceptive, strong person. Lean into that. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. No one should be treated this way.

Married for 20 years with two kids when my husband had a six month affair with a coworker. DD1: 6/2020. DD2: 7/3/2020. Reconciling

posts: 236   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8753681
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 5:58 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

My first XH was a diagnosed and hospitalized (multiple times) paranoid schizophrenic. I’m pretty sure that my second XH (and wayward) would meet the criteria for NPD - with the right therapist and enough time.

Here’s the thing I can absolutely tell you is true in both of those very different but also alike situations: when something in the brain or psyche is that seriously broken, the behavior is just incomprehensible. This was even more true in the case with my second XH because it was less cyclic…he had developed those dysfunctional survival responses from a very early age. It was less about coping in the moment and more foundational to who he really is. But because of that - and to survive in a world that really has little tolerance of that - he had learned so many more ways to cover it up, to appear to be someone different. I found that aspect to be much more confusing - not who he actually was but how it was in such contrast to who he portrayed himself to be. It created a great deal of cognitive dissonance for me.

If you’re dealing with NPD - and I see a lot of similarities with my 2nd XH - the hardest part to accept (but also the most critical) is that these folks can’t really be helped. They missed a critical developmental milestone in their early life and you just can’t go back and grow that; it’s a window of time forever gone. The most that they will ever be able to do is to adapt their responses…but the foundational piece that should be at the root of that adaption (in how most normal people change themselves) will never be there in someone that has NPD. And this is without considering that most NPDs don’t want this kind of "help" and can’t get it authentically because of the nature of their disorder. They literally see nothing wrong in themselves because, as mentioned above, they know only two possible roles - hero or victim.

The key to dealing with an NPD is both recognition (educate yourself!) and radical acceptance (give up trying to understand HIM, focus on understanding NPD). You can manipulate by feeding the hero need…but ultimately, when challenged, he will only really be motivated by consequences - so there ALWAYS has to be consequences. The key is to always find a consequence that’s worse than the desired response you’d like to see. Just remember always that they thing you’d really like to see - him to choose a response out of authenticity - is never an option. The ONLY way to win with an NPD is to out-manipulate them. The bigger challenge in a relationship with an NPD is to not become the thing you are fighting against.

As an example, in divorcing my NPD, he thought he was in control of the process - because I had always played by his rules. He was the one that left but then he drug his feet through the entire divorce process (took almost two years). He had always played the hero in the relationship so he continued to put his paycheck in the joint account that entire time. Hero - his hook but also MY hook. But he’d simultaneously hound me about the divorce - and then never really respond to any overtures I made to progress it. Our settlement discussions were a crash course in how an NPD functions. I went along with this scenario for a long time - initially because I didn’t understand NPD and I kept hoping he’d come back around. Later because I was growing in understanding - and when I could emotionally detach, I went along with his manipulation (manipulating him myself) because the situation was financially beneficial to me and I was growing a pair myself for the battle that was to come.

When it came time for me to really go head first into the battle, I was resolved on the two options (the two worst outcomes - consequences - for him): Either give me what I want financially - or I’m going to blow this all up in court. In that second scenario I would have likely lost a lot more financially as he probably would have lost his job and possibly his pension. But, more important to him, he would have lost his image. I knew the odds were likely in my favor - he’d value his image over finances - but it was a place that I gave HIM the choice. I just had to find the two worst consequences for him (and how to use them to my benefit)…and detach from whichever one he chose. This is just an example of how D works with a narc; staying in a relationship with one looks like this in almost every single interaction. You’re forever jockeying for position - and that is exhausting!

The other trap with an NPD is information overload - which is commonly called "word salad". They say a bunch of stuff…but at the end, you suddenly realize you have no idea what they are talking about. It’s contradictory. It’s vague. Its an over explanation. It’s often just flat out nonsense. Feeling in a constant state of confusion is a hallmark of being in a relationship with a NPD. Sometimes we don’t even realize how prevalent it is, how long we’ve been in a state of confusion or how frequently (and often about silly stuff) until we have something really big show up - like a double life. (Yep, he had that too. Going all the way back to when he first asked me out.). This is how they dumb down our expectations as well as teach us not to trust ourselves. This is why you got the response you did from your H upon confrontation. He’s not just trying to figure out what you know - he’s preparing the lie upon the lie. It’s not just covering himself in the moment…it’s covering himself beyond the lie he’s about to tell in the moment. They will also preemptively lie - basically lying where it’s not even necessitated because they are laying a future foundation in case that’s a needed narrative. (ie, my XH telling me how his ex-fiancé was a stalker while he was simultaneously continuing a relationship).

The point that I’m making in all that is- controlling information is foundational to an NPD. The bigger point is - you asking for/wanting/needing the information from him is a trapdoor. I totally get wanting the info - that’s perfectly normal. But in this case, it likely comes at the short end of a big stick that he will use to "beat" you. Getting information is subjective in so many ways - how the speaker explains, how the listener hears it, etc. in your situation, the well is already poisoned so no matter what you get from him, it’s likely not going to serve you well. The resolve to that, pick you - ie, listen to your gut. Wholly, exclusively, pick you - and let it stand on that merit ALONE. If you’re wrong in your assessment, you’ll learn that. Truth always wins out. The info itself is not nearly important as who you choose to trust right now. The less you listen to anything he has to say, the more likely you will gain clarity. It’s often why the number one rule in dealing with an NPD is "no contact".

As an aside, the first time I really started to recognize the NPD characteristics (because I had danced around the idea for some time) I literally spent the next few days just throwing up. I was horrified, felt like aliens or demons exist among us. That was more incomprehensible than anything he had actually done - because it spoke to his intent, his awareness. THAT was the piece I MOST couldn’t understand. It wasn’t so much how could he have cheated…it was more a matter of how could he have cheated yet seem to love me and be so invested in the life we had built. I think the vomiting was also a result of suddenly seeing so many little things that I had dismissed over and over suddenly come together to form an entirely different picture - like smoke in the air morphing into this horrific form. It was even worse when I realized that the thing that had blinded me, the thing that was even causing me conflict now, was all the NICE and LOVING things he had always done. I began to see that he manipulated me more through those things than any lies that came out of his mouth. I very much saw it through the lens akin to Munchausen by Proxy - that all those kind and loving things were actually the "cyanide in my coffee" that he so "lovingly" prepared each day. This aspect was a pivotal piece to my healing. It’s less understanding what he did…and more recognizing THAT he portrayed himself to be so different from how he really is….that he has the capability and could do it so easily. Everything I really needed to know had already been shown to me.

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8913   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8753725
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 6:49 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

A psychologist, Dr Ramani Durvasula, has several interviews on youtube. She is an expert on personality disorders and those might help you figure out what you are dealing with.

I happen to think your husband’s tears are just more manipulating you.

Now you are asking him to be a grownup but he can’t or won’t.

Btw, Dr D says that psychopaths are born and sociopaths are made by their childhoods. The awful part of this is they cannot be fixed. I have no idea what he is except scary.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8753730
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 7:17 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

On the topic of silent treatment (ST) - my XH was a MASTER at this! It’s a weapon that is designed to passively kill you (which is one reason it’s so painful. It basically renders you invisible). It’s also a hallmark of covert narcissism. We all have moments we are in emotionally overload, the tell is in the response after the emotional overload has passed. Does he come back to the table to discuss and try to resolve…or would he ignore it and act like nothing is wrong if you allowed him? I was so trained to the ST that it literally would keep ME silent. I knew what was coming if I broached certain topics so I literally would have to ask myself if I was ready for the consequence. He was also the master of the blank stare (that still sends shudders down my spine when I think about it). I use to just see a scared child in those moments…but now I realize there was so much more going on behind the scenes. He literally was strategizing - hoping for more info (that I’d keep talking and filling in the empty space) and moving the chess pieces around his internal board. The lack of emotion in that moment was the most real thing.

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8913   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8753736
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 7:58 PM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

My mother was overlooked as a child because her brilliant brother was in college at 15 and went on to be very successful. She kept that anger to herself until we kids were teenagers. Then she tried the silent treatment. When you have siblings as a posse you are well armed. Every time she tried it we played the fake violins. It got so that even if she tried it when we were alone all we had to do is put the pretend violin under our necks and she would laugh. She finally came into her own when she got several promotions and got many accolades.
Silence is extremely powerful because language is so important.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3500   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8753745
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Felix12306 ( member #78827) posted at 2:58 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

Sounds more like a sex addiction than narcissism. There is definitely some narcissistic traits in there as most people have some of those, he just seems to have a few more than normal. I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's definitely a tough journey.

BS Together for 15 years, married for 10 on D-Day. D-day 1/28/21, 44-day affair. D-Day that is was physical 6/18/21.

posts: 187   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2021
id 8753783
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VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 4:48 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

truthsetmefree

Your account is an absolutely brilliant summation of exiting a relationship with a narcissistically abusive person, and then reflecting back with horror as what has occurred. IMO it is much different from the selfish cheater I read about on SI because the lie permeates their entire existence (they don't lie, they are the lie). It's just the victim doesnt see it until there is a catastrophic event like discovery of cheating. I hope your reply doesnt just get lost in this thread, because there would be many victims who were encouraged to work with the abuser as if they were an ordered person capable of change, and continue to be coopted into the fantasy space created by the abuser. This is a psychologically dangerous place to be, and should be discouraged at all costs (it is also enabling further abuse).

I think it is absolutely imperative that the term narcissism is "bandied about", and what the behaviour looks like, whether a diagnosis is present or not, because people need to understand there are dysfunctional individuals in our society who operate from a place of bad intent, and we may be living with them (partners, parents, adult children). And there are experts who can guide a victim out of the relationship (as truthsetmefree says, no contact, or grey rock if kids/property involved is a good place to start).

When I reflected on my relationship, there were so many encounters with my ex where I exited not understanding what had happened (it didnt feel right, I felt bad about myself afterwards, he is such a good person (first part of relationship when our kids were little had isolated me surrounded by his flying monkeys), I must be the problem, where's a self help book so I can work out what's wrong with me - and this was not an overtly abusive person, he rarely said much at all). I then looked back at those encounters, trying to understand what a disordered person (him) would have been doing. I realised he saw me right from the start as a competitor, a rival, an adversary, the entire time, and that his goal was not that we should win, or even that he should win, but that I should lose (even if he lost too by blowing up our lives, the children's lives, his own life).

After we separated, his disordered thinking became so obvious, because I went grey rock/no in person contact so he had to put his thoughts in writing. The mask was off, and he dissociated and started sending bizarre emails and texts, one of which was about how my job as his wife was to watch him, and admire him, and I didnt do it (AP did, I actually saw her, which was disturbing looking back), and why had I married him in the first place if I didnt intend to worship him (he was a humble and self deprecating fellow who had failed to mention this for the previous 25 years) Literally he expected me to give up my entire existence and stare at him with googly eyes. What I saw was a 2 year old having a tantrum wanting mummy to pay him some attention.

Sam Vaknin talks about disordered people moving between self states after narcissistic injury or mortification from being exposed - from narcissist to psychopath for example (so they can no longer give the impression of caring).

I think the person who pointed out money could be siphoned off (in dollars here and there) also makes a relevant point. I'm just finding out about all the siphoning off of funds now, after carefully watching and feeling guilty about spending more than a few dollars for 25 years because apparently we didn't have any money (he actually has millions, but we had a phantom budget he had created in his mind, and I had to go along with it, even though I must have known it wasnt true - gaslighting is very effective like that)

I am not an uneducated person, but I lived in a bubble where people were essentially good, made mistakes, and had epiphanies if they read the right article, or saw the right therapist.

I hope Sigyn is Ok.

[This message edited by VezfromTaz at 7:55 AM, Sunday, September 4th]

posts: 40   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8753790
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VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 5:50 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I just wanted to add one comment regarding silent treatment. I interpreted my ex's long periods of silence as rather benign behaviour, because it was never coupled with outward displays of aggression (although at times, in hindsight, he was aggressive). I just thought he was vague. Actually he was pretty easy to get along with because oftentimes he wouldnt speak! He was also an expert in the disappearing act, long before he started cheating (although who would know when that started, probably from day dot). Like, half way through dinner with my friends or neighbours at our home (when he wasnt the centre of attention - btw, he never brought friends to the house, not sure he even had real friends, red flag!), he'd go missing, and return hours later (I suspect for other reasons he was also casually sexually engaged with men but I digress). But it wasn't always I'm sure to meet up for sex. He did it to punish me, and I didnt even realise it until I looked back. He did it because he was seething with jealousy and rage because I had a life, and a mind, separate to his. He hated that, it was intolerable to him that I could exist outside of his control. I wasnt allowed to mention that I had a job, or had friends, or had a life outside of the home. He never communicated that to me in words, he didnt have to, because through a series of microaggressions (including the silent treatment or the disappearing act) over a number of years I just knew I had to make my life outside of the home invisible to him. I was the proverbial frog in the boiling water. We ended up with two separate existences (people who existed in the home, people who existed outside the home) entirely orchestrated by my ex. In that environment as soon as he walked out the front door he was capable of anything, including cheating.

My ex currently stalks me, he wants the reassurance that I am still here where he left me, but again because he is a covert he does it in the context of benign actions (in the area for reasons related to our child, for example, even though he lives nowhere near me and it's not his time with our son, or he has our son with him). Id never get a protective order because no one, other than those who actually get it, would believe me.

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SecretsOut09 ( new member #80820) posted at 6:11 AM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

Sigyn,

my heart breaks for you while reading your story as it sounds so much like my own. I am new in this community too, as my story is also unfolding as we speak.

HOWEVER let me just say that holy shit, you are a badass woman.

You are keeping it together in incredible ways, even though I KNOW that internally you are falling apart. The questions are never ending, the loneliness is all consuming, and I too just want to call a time-out and ugly cry into the chest of the man I used to know.

Its not even about the sex any more, its about the lies. Its about the disregard for your health. The disregard for the life you built. Who is this man in my home??


I don't have any magic answers or even any advice because I am still here in the trenches myself- but What I can do, is share with you some things that have been shared with me in this community that may be helpful for you:

Someone told me that there is another forum on this site called "I CAN RELATE" which has a few interesting threads for people who's partners are sex addicts (if that is what H is hinting at?), partners who have personality disorders, partners who have FOO trauma, etc.

Additionally, look up Try Not To Cry On My Rainbow on Wordpress. It's a very honest blog written by a woman who stuck it out through the good bad and ugly with her sex addicted husband. She keeps it real with how difficult recovery is for both partners, but specifically writes a lot about her experience with Betrayal Trauma. it's a heavy but interesting read, and makes you feel less "crazy" for feeling how you're feeling.

Anyway, in case this 12 page thread hasn't made it abundantly clear already- I just want to reiterate that you are not alone. My relationship is much newer than yours, we do not have children, and I still am having trouble breaching the subject of leaving. I cannot imagine being in your shoes, but I have faith that those same shoes will take you in the right direction.

I'm sending you strength, bravery and resilience... but I think you've got more of that than you know wink

[This message edited by SecretsOut09 at 6:40 AM, Sunday, September 4th]

posts: 9   ·   registered: Sep. 2nd, 2022   ·   location: Maine
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 5:42 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I'm reading and rereading this thread and trying to absorb the advice and insight. It's really hard, I'm just a mess inside and my mind and heart can't come together. I wish I could get back to feeling numb, it was horrible but easier not to feel this much pain.

Some of these posts feel like a stranger putting words to the tangle of horrors I'm feeling. It's so painful to read. I need to hear it, it just hurts to think of the man I've recently seen him as almost "killing" the man I was married to. I know he's the same man, but to me he isn't. I believed in the mask, I thought that was my husband and I loved that man. It's like I have to mourn him as if he died while he's right there.

He has shown that once exposed, there is no room in his heart except for himself. I like to say that people can change if they want to change, but most often, it is not something they take seriously. He has been deceptive to you far longer than he has been honest.

More like things that you thought were accommodations in your relationship turn out to be more telling in hindsight with all of this new information.

These realizations trickle in slowly as the landscape of your life morphs from what your experience was to something totally new as you fit each new sickening fact of what he was doing/juggling/planning during these periods.

I think his total inability to show any empathy or consideration for you may be the most authentic he’s ever been.

He may very well have loved the box you shared but now that the peas are touching the mashed potatoes, what he most fears is exposure.

You are now past his veneer. Youve peeled back the first layer and found rot. You peeled a bit more and found more rot. Chances are very good thats all youll find from here on out.

And so many more. I keep reading these posts and it hits me each and every time. In the first second it hits me it all feels right, then I flip back to the person I'm used to thinking of as my husband and it's like this just can't be. barf It's physically sickening, like motion sickness.

About the narcissist part, I wrote that post at such a hopeless moment. I need to feel like I have insight coming from somewhere and it's not coming from H himself... even if he's not a real narcissist or a sex addict the insights still feel like they describe parts of him including things I never connected in our marriage.

The silent treatment is something that I never realized was a form of emotional abuse. He's always done it. I need time to process emotions and would always ask H to give me time to think about something he was confronting me with before I responded because it was important for me to tell him how I really felt. But H would use silence as punishment or like passive aggressively and when I would call him on it he would tell me it was just like what I did when I asked for time to think. I've always known those two things were different but I couldn't explain how they were. Now I see it clearly.

I know I have to climb out of my own head and stop analyzing him and start thinking of myself but I'm not ready yet. I have my sister, my therapist and the list from my lawyer if I'm ever ready, and there's comfort in that, but I'm not there.

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
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 Sigyn (original poster member #80576) posted at 5:46 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

I meant to start by saying thank you to everyone posting so much support and painfully accurate analysis! I'm sorry, this rollercoaster ride is making me so inwardly focused I literally can't think of anything else and it's making me self focused to a gross degree. sad

posts: 55   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2022
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:39 PM on Sunday, September 4th, 2022

The silent treatment is something that I never realized was a form of emotional abuse. He's always done it.

That's called stonewalling, and you'll find quite a bit more about it online.

In regard to feeling physically sick, don't hesitate to follow up with your doctor regarding stress management. I remember being so sick to my stomach at four months out from dday that I'd have divorced my WH on the spot if it meant that queasy rolling sensation would just stop. Your body is pumping out stress hormones so there's actual stuff happening, and yeah, meditation, breathing, and relaxation techniques can help, but sometimes we need more than that.

Try not to put a whole lot of pressure on yourself to eat the bear whole as it were. Try smaller bites. Work on self-care and boundaries. That's a lot if you think about it. We're often quite accustomed to putting our spouse first. It might initially feel really counterintuitive to start prioritizing yourself, and when you manage it, it's big progress.


((hugs))

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

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